Liverpool Football Club played host to a different type of final between two teams of young readers.
Youngsters from Kensington Primary School and Sacred Heart Primary School battled it out at the iconic Anfield Stadium at the end of a six-week reading challenge.
It was organised by Kensington Fields Community Association after being awarded £134,000 from the Community Match Challenge Fund, consisting of £67,000 from the Steve Morgan Foundation and a similar amount from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
The Steve Morgan Foundation portion went towards funding the role of library manager Diana Bradley, who came up with the idea of the football-themed reading challenge.
She said: “Liverpool is a hotbed of football and what better way to encourage children to read than picking a subject they love?
“Once they’ve got the reading bug you hope it will be with them for life.”
Ten pupils from both schools were put forward for the challenge, which involved reading the work of famous children’s author Tom Palmer, who has written three Puffin football series, Football Academy, Foul Play and The Squad.
Weekly reading sessions were combined with football coaching, with the coaches provided by the LFC Foundation.
If that wasn’t enough of an incentive it culminated with the final at Anfield where the school children were asked 15 questions about the books they’d read and 10 football-based questions before being given a tour of the stadium.
Tom Palmer spoke to the children about reading for pleasure before playing the role of the goalkeeper in a penalty shoot-out on a nearby pitch – with Sacred Heart eventually winning by just one point.
“The kids absolutely loved it and we’re planning to involve more schools next time,” said Diana. “They got the Champions’ League trophy out and even I enjoyed it and I’m an Everton fan!
“None of this would have been possible without the generous support of the Steve Morgan Foundation and DCMS. Thank you.”
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